Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Heartache in OZ

Earlier this month I was filled with a mixture of emotions---excitement over having our Washington family visit for a week along with fearful concern for our Australian family. Wild fires were raging in Victoria, the state where the "Pagan Dancer" and most of my family reside. As I watched US news reports and combed the Internet for more up to date reports, I prayed the winds would not shift and the brave firefighters would be able to put out the fires before they got anywhere near my uncles, aunts, and cousins. The fires were so furious and numerous, that my concern grew with each passing day. I searched maps looking to see how close the fires were to the various towns where they lived,wanting everyone to remain out of harm's way.
Fires in background
I received a photo from "Pagan Dancer" of fires burning in near Doncaster a mile from my Uncle Laurie's house in Nunawading and thankfully that was as far as they got. In 2005 Uncle Laurie had taken John & me to Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary where his daughter and her husband worked and the flames threatened nearby but thankfully spared them. The sanctuary is presently treating the animals who escaped, but are in need of care.
Kangaroos at Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary

While taking part in the Great Backyard Bird Count with my grandson and granddaughter, I was also praying for the citizens of Marysville whose town was totally destroyed by fire. The town was located in the Dandenong's that John and I visited and where wild rosellas, cockatoos and gallahs literally ate from our hands in Sherbrooke Forest. Who would want to destroy such beauty? It's inconceivable, but some of the fires had been deliberately set and now the death toll is over 200 and expected to rise as additional bodies are discovered.

Sherbrooke Forest

Feeding cockatoos and rosellas

Another cousin sent word that a magical spot of whimsical beauty Bruno's Art and Sculpture Garden was totally wiped out. Take time to be awed by what had amazed generations of visitors by clicking on the following link. While looking at these stunning photos, please say a short prayer for the brave citizens of Victoria who have suffered so much.